Op Ed
January 08, 2010

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American Mantra: Free Market Capitalism and Obama
by Peter Phillips

Free Market capitalism remains the dominant American ideological truth. The decline of communism opened the door for unrepentant free marketers to boldly espouse market competition as the final solution for global harmony. According to the American mantra, if given the opportunity to freely develop, the marketplace will solve all evils. We will enjoy economic expansion, individual freedom and unlimited bliss by fully deregulating and privatizing society’s socio-economic institutions.

The selection of Obama as the U.S. President placed into power the party of the trilateralist wing of the American corporate elite. Obama’s business/government revolving-door cabinet is comprised of just as many corporate CEOs and business elites as any presidency in recent history. This new government elite will continue the work to see that the American mantra remains safe, globalized and unchallenged.

Pesky socialist or nationalist leaning governments will be undermined, pressured into compliance or even invaded if they dare to resist the American mantra. The full force of U.S. dominated global institutions: WTO, World Bank, IMF, NAFTA will focus on maximizing free market circumstances and corporate access to every region of the world.

Economic safety nets, environmental regulations, labor unions, human rights, become second place to the free flow of capital and investments. Indigenous resisters face overt repression, disappearance or imprisonment by governments fully armed and supported by the American dominated New World Order.

So what is the underlying rationale for this American mantra? Are its dogmatic beliefs based on specific socio-economic facts? Are free market forces clearly the best mechanism for human betterment? Do these mechanisms work cross-culturally and are they efficient under all circumstances?

A closer examination of the American mantra reveals that “free market” essentially means constant international U.S. government intervention on behalf of American corporations. A public-private partnership that utilizes U.S. embassies, the CIA, FBI, NSA, U.S. military, Homeland Security, Department of Commerce, USAID and every other U.S government institution to protect, sustain and directly support our vital interest — U.S. business.

American mantra institutions push market deregulation that transforms foreign economies for the benefit of U.S. businesses. Post-NAFTA Mexicans are now importing U.S. grown corn for their tortillas as millions of formally subsidized peasant farmers leave the land to seek minimum wage work in the cities of United States. Los Angeles has become the center for new American sweatshops as “illegals” compete for poverty jobs, citizens cannot afford to accept.

Government-assisted foreign market penetration by U.S firms often results in the buying out of successful indigenous companies and the competition overwhelm of others. This situation leaves U.S. multinationals in dominate positions in foreign domestic markets and creates win-fall profit taking opportunities.

The free market mantra carries with it shock treatment policies of lowering public expectations, forced austerity measures and dismantled human services. A privately run water system is deemed superior to a public system because the profit motive will create maximum efficiency. Yet, there is absolutely no research that systematically compares public verses private efficiency levels, only the dogmatic assertion that this is so.

The American mantra affects the U.S. population as well. Poverty and unemployment are rising, the working poor expanding and homelessness one pay check away for many.

It is time to re-examine the American mantra and speak for global humanity. We must establish business socio-economic accountability standards and reacquaint our government with its responsibility for maintaining the common good.

Peter Phillips is a professor of Sociology at Sonoma State University and president of Media Freedom Foundation.